Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium to the Pharmaceutical Industry – “You have our support”
Belgium is opening its data vaults up to medical science in an effort to improve the healthcare industry.
Belgium’s liberal Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo argues strongly to make available anonymised medical data stored on 2.5% of the Belgian population, over 300,000 people, in order to promote “scientific progress”. Speaking to eyeforpharma, De Croo set out his bold personal vision: “This has the potential to change a lot of things for the healthcare landscape. There’s a lot of data on clinical trials and that’s a positive thing, but it’s much better to get real data on real outcomes from real environments. This is going to move health care research in a very dramatic way”.
In the UK similar steps are being taken with the launch of care.data, which will attempt to tie together data collected from the multiple health care provisions to use in future drug development and the improvement of current treatment. While the UK is still on its way to a fully realised data partnership with the industry, signs are encouraging.
Responding to Croo’s statement, Mark Wilkinson, Chief Exec of a NHS Clinical Commission Group (CCG) and previous employee of ‘big pharma’ commented, “This is a very positive step and I hope it will lead to greater openness and sharing of data – with appropriate safeguards – to help the pharmaceutical industry to develop effective new medicines”.
Wilkinson continued by explaining that “here in the UK we are seeking to move in a similar direction with the launch of [the] care.data [program]”. He explains how this new program is hoped to bridge gaps between the different healthcare services “until now a gap has been that the vast majority of NHS care provided takes place out of hospital. We have not collected data nationally from all GP practices, for example, nor from ambulance trusts or community health services. As a result, we know worryingly little about how all the different parts of the NHS are working together to provide safe, joined-up care for patients”.
Historically, the path to access data has been a notoriously difficult one. The continuing issues of how to collect data, which methodology is valid and valuable for the decision making process and the constant debate around the confidentiality and ownership of patients data have made the task of accurately collecting data nearly impossible.
Stressing the benefits of a governmental/industry partnership, De Croo continues: “A strong partnership will help us to strengthen the links between therapies, institutions and certain drugs – it opens a whole new spectrum of research. It’s quite clear, the more access to real life data the better”.
Given past difficulties faced in gathering and extracting value from multiple data sources, and involving multiple stakeholders; it’s difficult to imagine exactly what processes could simplify matters whilst providing benefits to government and big pharma alike. Not to mention achieving a balance which placates each party to the extent that they’re prepared to agree terms. De Croo was quick to address these concerns, “I think one of the central questions is how to bring together political stakeholders, industrial ones and the sick funds – to address this we have different platforms, as the pilot has shown.”
“Everything is in place. We have been finalising the best practice for making good contractual agreements without tying industries’ hands and feet, and are looking forward to building upon these experiences.”
Alexander De Croo will comment on some the results of the current pilot campaign as well as providing actionable best practice for future cases at the Real World Data Europe conference April 28th – 29th. Visit the website here to find out which representatives from NHS, NICE, G-BA, HAS, AETS, EFPIA and other organisations will be accompanying him.
For more information, contact Program Director, Ben Swanson, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on +44 207 422 4346
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